Ahead of deadline, Gray visits University of Louisville to register new voters

10/07/2016 08:48 PM

LOUISVILLE — With the state’s voter registration deadline approaching next week, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray spent part of Friday morning on the University of Louisville’s campus

Gray is hoping to unseat Senator Rand Paul, and he says he’ll need every vote in that effort. A handful of students stopped to register to vote or simply sign up for Gray’s campaign, and the trick for Gray, like other politicians, will be pushing those newly registered younger voters to the polls Nov. 8.

“There’s a lot of interest in this campaign this year,” Gray said when asked about getting those college students to vote this fall. “Our country is at a crossroads in many respects, and people want to see action. They want to see change, and these young people, they know what’s going on. … Sometimes they know more about what’s going on than we do.”

Nationally, Republicans have employed a different tactic recently, seizing on comments from former President Bill Clinton on the campaign trail on Monday that the Affordable Care Act is a “crazy system.”

Clinton later walked those comments back the next day, but Republicans have used them to hammer Democrats about a month away from Election Day. CNN reported Friday that the Republican National Committee has already distributed a mailer in 12 battleground states using Clinton’s remarks.

When asked about the former president’s comments, Gray said that President Obama’s signature health law still needs some work.

“I think that’s some of what President Clinton was talking about,” he said. “What I know is that employers, small businesses, they need relief, and the individual marketplace is not in a stable condition, so we need to work on a lot of things on the Affordable Care Act.

“But I think if you ask people who’ve just gotten insurance if they think it’s crazy, I don’t think that they’ll tell you that. I think they’ll say that they’re glad that they’ve got insurance, perhaps for the first time.”

Gray has floated some potential fixes in the past, such as raising the threshold of subsidy eligibility for small businesses from employing 25 workers to employing 50 workers and making a new lower “copper” tier available on insurance exchanges.

By contrast, Paul has called for repealing and replacing the federal health law know as Obamacare.

“Unlike Dr. Paul, a physician with firsthand experience and knowledge of the immense problems in healthcare — which were made worse by Obamacare, Jim Gray supports Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their healthcare law that is driving up costs and causing insurers to leave Kentucky,” Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said in a statement.

Clinton’s comments may re-emerge during Sunday’s second presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

For his part, Gray says he will watch the debate as millions tune in, but he’s staying focused on his Senate campaign.

“Here in Kentucky, we’ve got a lot of interest in the Senate race,” he said when asked who he expects to win the debate. “I was in Corbin yesterday. I was in Williamsburg yesterday. I was in London yesterday and deep into territory that sometimes Democrats aren’t willing to go, but I was willing to go there, and I ran into a lot of folks that were interested in the race.”

The voter registration deadline is Tuesday.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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